Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205
03/25/2021 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS
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SB 28-EST. APRIL 24 ALASKA CONSTITUTION DAY 5:14:03 PM CHAIR SHOWER announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 28 "An Act establishing April 24 of each year as Vic Fischer and Jack Coghill Constitution of the State of Alaska Day; and providing for an effective date." 5:14:25 PM CHAIR SHOWER recognized that Senator Reinbold and Senator Kawasaki were present via Teams. 5:14:55 PM SENATOR TOM BEGICH, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, sponsor of SB 28, introduced the legislation paraphrasing the following sponsor statement: On April 24, 1956, the citizens of Alaska ratified the Constitution of the State of Alaska, "guaranteeing that the individual will always be in-charge," enshrining our State's values of individual freedom, local control, and personal anatomy at the core of our Statehood. The purpose of our Constitution was to "transmit to succeeding generations our heritage of political, civil, and religious liberty within the United of States." Over the past 65 years, the laws and policies of our state have remained relevant and true. Those 55 delegates so long ago provided a visionary template for guided governance that has served this state well. Now is the time to recognize the persistence of our Constitution by establishing an annual reminder and celebration of the continuity of our state's values. SB 28 provides a bridge from the past to the future by establishing the Vic Fischer and Jack Coghill Constitution of the State of Alaska Day. If we know where we have come from, we will better attend to where we are going. As Alaska grapples with an unprecedented pandemic and increasing fiscal instability, let us all take a moment to remember the actions and efforts that shaped the state we are today and focus on the state we wish to become. 5:17:34 PM LOKI TOBIN, Staff, Senator Tom Begich, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, presented the following sectional analysis for SB 28: Section 1. Amends AS 44.12.010(a) by inserting subsection (5) th which denotes the 24 day of April, or Vic Fischer and Jack Coghill Constitution of the State of Alaska Day, as a legal holiday in the state of Alaska. Section 2. Conforms exceptions under AS 44.12.020 to align with newly created subsection (5) under AS 44.12.010(a) to ensure every Sunday continues to be recognized as a legal holiday in the state of Alaska. Section 3. Inserts applicability language to ensure this legislation does not void or create an unintended impact on any existing state contract. Section 4. Establishes an effective date of July 1, 2021. 5:19:18 PM CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony on SB 28. 5:19:28 PM RICK HALFORD, representing self, Chugiak, Alaska, stated that when he was first in the legislature in the late 1970s he had some of the best teachers possible. They had worked on statehood and created the Alaska Constitution. He interacted with both Jack Coghill and Vic Fisher and while they came from opposite perspectives, they reflected the commitment to the long-term future of the state. The constitution itself represents that balance and that should be protected. He described SB 28 as a step in the right direction in recognition that the Alaska Constitution is the best of all the states. 5:20:59 PM BOB WALDROP, representing self, Anchorage, Alaska, stated that he was speaking in support of SB 28 and his comments are made with respect for the history and confidence in the future. He related that in the 2011 message to citizens in the constitutional booklet, Jack Coghill, former state senator, lieutenant governor, and delegate to the constitution convention, said the Alaska Constitution is a product of Alaska pioneers, the spirit of independence, and self-government. It is the guarantee that the individual will always be in charge. MR. WALDROP said he believes that the Alaska Constitution strikes a fair balance of the power of the people and the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. He cited the first article of the constitution that says all political power is inherent in the people. Since statehood, the constitution has guided Alaska through good and bad times, he said, and the principles continue to be as relevant today as when Alaskans ratified the constitution. He said SB 28 would serve as an annual reminder of the debt owed to all the founders and the means to navigate the seas ahead. 5:22:39 PM CHAIR SHOWER closed public testimony on SB 28 and held the bill in committee for future consideration.